I’m sure I’ve mentioned singing therapy before, particularly as another strategy for managing mental health, although singing can provide many benefits to the singer.
Just a snapshot of research into singing therapy shows how we should never underestimate this simple action, freely and readily available. I would say I am probably your average singer – sang in a choir at school, briefly learned a musical instrument, happily sing in the shower or car, but wouldn’t be showing myself up on the X Factor anytime soon. However, a friend of mine is a long standing member of The White Rosettes – a championship level ladies barbershop choir, and as well as being extremely passionate about her singing, feels that joining The White Rosettes saved her sanity. She persuaded me to join their free 4 week ‘Learn To Sing’ course held in January, not as a PR stunt or recruitment drive, but purely to share the joy of singing. No skills required, just to come along on a Wednesday evening, learn some techniques, and enjoy acappella group singing. Of course my first reaction was ‘I can’t sing!’ but she quickly dismissed this notion and simply encouraged me to come and try. It took less than 10 minutes of the first session and I was hooked – what a buzz to stand on risers, and sing warm-ups with the 60-strong White Rosettes plus 70 or so learn-to-singers. What a sound! Wow, fabulous direction from Sally and we can all sing?! Amazing.
Four Wednesdays later and we held our own little ‘friends and family’ concert! Here are 3 clips of the concert, which was also shown on Made in Leeds.tv, and demonstrates just what singing therapy can produce! The White Rosettes are all wearing a deep salmon coloured scarf and the rest of us are multi-coloured!
A warm-up round – ‘Rose, rose, rose red’:
A barbershop favourite ‘Heart of my Heart’:
Our showpiece tune ‘Shine’:
What do you think?! Why not have a look into choirs near you and give it a try?!
At the end of the course, anyone who wanted to audition to join The White Rosettes, was welcome to. Should I, shouldn’t I, repeated on a loop in my head for a few days, what if I was – horror of horrors – rejected? Would I be despondent and negative? However, if I didn’t try, how much would I berate myself? The lyrics of ‘Shine’ were very pertinent – ‘Don’t you let your demons pull you down’. I embraced my new found ‘forties’ confidence and decided to just go for it, telling myself if I didn’t get in I had to just take it on the chin and smile at the enjoyment of the experience. What do you know? I practiced hard, took many deep breaths, went in and gave it my all….and GOT IN!!! I am now an official White Rosette trainee and what a thrill! I went to my first session as a trainee this week, felt like a total fraud, thought I would be kicked out at any minute, but absolutely loved it! I’ve got a LOT of work to do but hey, I can’t wait!
I’ll leave you with their Championship gold medal-winning performance at the 2013 Ladies Association of Barbershop Singers conference, it’s almost 10 minutes but if you watch to the end, I guarantee you’ll be smiling and clapping…
Have a good weekend!
p.s. yes I am deliberately not mentioning my forthcoming walk on the sand SIX DAYS TO GO!!!